Nov 28, 2011, 12:52 AM EDT
Centers are at a premium in this league, that should be evident by now. Nene, Tyson Chandler, Marc Gasol, all will lead this free agency class. Dwight Howard headlines the next. Chandler’s defensive impact was a primary factor in the Mavericks winning the title. So Samuel Dalembert will be getting his fair share of calls in the next few weeks as teas vie for his services. More importantly? Dalembert’s willing to take less to play for a contender. Say hello to Miami.
Soon, the Miami Heat might have a basketball volunteer in Dalembert. The team desperately needs a center, and the 6-foot-11 Dalembert is a free agent. And the Heat is high on his list as the free agency signing period is expected to begin Dec. 9 following a five-month lockout.
Joining the Heat “would be fantastic,” Dalembert said Sunday night from Haiti in an interview with FOX Sports Florida. Miami is where more than 50 of his relatives live and is about one hour south of his home in Boca Raton.
Dalembert would provide a major upgrade for the Heat who very nearly won the title anyway. Joel Anthony would work a lot better at power forward alongside Udonis Haslem. Having size inside to deter opponents inside would help the perimeter weapons of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James and take pressure off Chris Bosh, the starting power forward. Dalembert’s strengths would play perfectly to the Heat’s style and his offense is just strong enough to make him a better offensive weapon than Anthony.
But the Heat aren’t the only option on Dalembert’s radar. He also lists the Knicks and Rockets. The Knicks are starting Ronny Turiaf. There really shouldn’t be any further discussion, but sure, why not. Dalembert’s mobile enough to function in D’Antoni’s offense while not only providing defense at the rim, but rebounding which is an inherent issue in the Knicks’ coach’s system. However, as long as the Knicks are focused on acquiring Dwight Howard in 2012, the Knicks will likely tread lightly in their approach. If CP3 is their primary objective, though, Dalembert would improve the Knicks and make them a more attractive option.
Finally, Dalembert also regards Houston as a potential landing spot, since they need a center with Yao gone. The Rockets are making a lot of noise about being active in free agency, with Nene also a target according to reports. But Dalembert doesn’t make the Rockets that much better, which is what the Rockets really need.
Dalembert’s going to have his options, and his decision could impact who wins the next NBA title.
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